Welcome to the Wednesday, Jan. 9 edition of the NBA Best Bets column. Here, I’ll strive to identify one NBA bet for tonight I feel has profit potential at DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, 888 Sportsbook, and BetStars Sportsbook.
Depending on the circumstance, I’ll hone in on moneylines, point spreads, or projected totals. Sometimes I may even touch on multiple metrics. Then, I’ll take you on a fairly deep dive as to why.
Please note we’ll be referencing only legal, regulated sportsbook betting odds and totals here at PlayPicks. A “pick” is a wager that, as of the time of this writing, we feel confident recommending. A “lean” is a wager we favor over the other side. This play could end up on our card with the release of additional information.
Season to Date:
ATS Picks: 20-14 (.588)
ATS Leans: 11-7-1 (.611)
Moneyline: 13-5 (.722)
Over/Under: 9-3 (.750)
1/9/19 NBA Betting Pick:
Atlanta Hawks (12-28) vs. Brooklyn Nets (20-22)
Over/Under Total: 227.5
The Hawks and Nets are both in the midst of rebuilding projects. But Brooklyn’s “house” is further along. The Nets are now only eight wins away from their 2017-18 total. Even without the emerging Caris LeVert (foot) at present, Brooklyn can roll out some impressive shooters. D’Angelo Russell (18.1 PPG), Spencer Dinwiddie (17.1), and Joe Harris (13.4 points and 48.2 percent shooting from three-point range) have taken significant steps forward this season. Each of their scoring averages is a career-best figure. And young center Jarrett Allen has also taken his game to a new level. His 11.6 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 1.1 APG, and 1.4 BPG represent new highs as well.
Then, the Nets also sport some impressive depth, which has helped them remain competitive on many injury-plagued nights. The likes of savvy veteran DeMarre Carroll (10.5 points, 4.9 RPG), Rodions Kurucs (9.1 PPG, 3.6 RPG) and Shabazz Napier (8.7 PPG, 2.0 APG, 1.7 RPG) have all made notable contributions as both spot starters and off the bench. Ed Davis has been a key member of the frontcourt rotation as well. The veteran averages a modest 5.8 PPG, but he’s also hauling in an impressive 8.5 rebounds per contest across just 18.2 minutes.
Brooklyn has also been a markedly better team on offense at home. The Nets come in scoring the sixth-most points (115.2) of any team on its home court. That impressive figure is partly the byproduct of 46.4 percent shooting at Barclays Center, which also represents a two-point improvement over their 44.4 percent success rate on the road. Notably, the team’s top three healthy scorers all boast better metrics at Barclays. The home averages of Russell (18.8 points), Dinwiddie (18.5 points), and Harris (15.2 points) outpace their respective 17.4, 15.8 and 11.7 road figures.
Those types of performances have helped Brooklyn notch some big home wins against a higher caliber of competition than the Hawks. The Nets boast home wins over the Sixers, Lakers (with LeBron James), Hornets, Raptors, and Pelicans. They also dropped single-digit decisions to the Warriors, Clippers, Rockets, Sixers, and Thunder. And the Nets have been much better at Barclays recently than earlier in the season. They’ll check into Wednesday’s contest having prevailed in seven of their last eight home games. One of those victories was a 144-127 walloping of this same Hawks squad on Dec. 16.
Then, Atlanta has seen some of their numbers take a tumble when traveling. The Hawks score 107.4 points per game on the road, compared to 111.0 at home. They’re also allowing the second-most points in away contests (118.0), which is a slight bump from the 116.2 they yield at home. And the Hawks’ league-worst ball security is at its poorest away from home. Atlanta is averaging an NBA-high 19.4 turnovers per road game, compared to 17.6 per home tilt. Moreover, although they played the Raptors very tough Monday (104-101 loss), the Hawks have suffered some rather large road defeats. Atlanta has lost by double digits in 12 of their 18 road stumbles overall. That includes the aforementioned loss to the Nets.
Finally, a word about the Nets’ checkered medical picture at present: while Brooklyn’s injury report coming into Wednesday is lengthy, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Harris has expressed confidence he’ll be ready to return from ankle issue after missing Monday’s game versus the Celtics. Carroll has likewise declared himself ready to go after also sitting out Monday’s tilt with a knee problem. His presence would be especially valued at power forward in the continued absence of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (hip). Both Harris and Carroll should have a little extra rest on their side as well after last having played Sunday. Then, it’s also worth noting Russell, Kurucs, and Allen all logged 28 minutes or fewer in Monday’s double-digit loss to Boston, with the bench getting plenty of run on the second night of a back-to-back. That should help the energy level of all three players Wednesday.
By the Numbers
The Hawks are 18-22 (45.0 percent) versus the spread overall this season. That includes a 12-16 mark (42.9 percent) against the number in conference games. Atlanta is also an NBA-worst 0-4 against the spread when playing the second game of a back-to-back, and 10-17 (37.0 percent) versus the number after a loss.
The Nets are 22-20 (52.4 percent) against the spread overall this season. That includes a 13-11 mark (54.2 percent) versus the number when playing on one day’s rest and 14-11 (56.0 percent) against the spread in conference games.
The Final Word
The two teams are young squads in the midst of a transitional period, but the Nets are a bit further along in their development. Despite their rash of injuries, they have a deeper roster capable of absorbing absences. Their home-court advantage is also a plus. Moreover, even though both teams are playing their third game in four nights, Brooklyn had Tuesday off, while the Hawks were playing a tough road tilt against the Raptors north of the border. Although the spread is up there, I’m leaning toward the fresher team having enough in the tank to pull away late and cover.
The Lean: Nets -9, Nets moneyline